Dielna debuts in loss to NYCFC: “He was one of our better players tonight”

Claude Dielna vs. New York City FC

NEW YORK – Claude Dielna’s MLS debut went according to script – at least from a New England Revolution perspective – for a solid 75 minutes on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

The 29-year-old center back partnered expertly with Antonio Delamea to effectively bottle up MLS leading scorer David Villa and the rest of the New York City FC attack, while Teal Bunbury’s fifth goal in the last six games had the visiting Revs on course for a first road win of the season.

But a pair of late lapses helped NYCFC rewrite the ending, sending the Revolution to a frustrating 2-1 loss and leaving Dielna with bittersweet memories from his first 90 minutes in MLS.

“We played very good for 75 minutes,” Dielna said. “After, we need to be [smarter] and keep going all the game, because we see tonight what can happen when you don’t focus all the game.”

Dielna was initially slated to play just 65 minutes, but an unplanned move brought Benjamin Angoua off around that time, and Dielna told the Revs’ coaching staff he felt good enough to continue.

Late lapses aside, it was a largely successful debut for Dielna, who earned positive reviews from both coaches and teammates after arriving in Foxborough less than 10 days ago.

“I thought Claude was really good. He’d been really training hard all week,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought he was one of our better players tonight.”

“Coming into a new team, a new environment, a new culture, a new playing style probably for him, and I think he fit in just great,” Bunbury added of Dielna. “It’s tough playing against David Villa, probably the best player in MLS right now, but I think he handled him well. He’s a special type of player.

“Claude’s going to do well with us. He’s a hard worker.”

Dielna said his partnership with Delamea will continue to improve game by game – “We’re trying to speak a lot and exchange some ideas,” he said – and on Sunday night he was uninterested in speaking about the loss and instead turned his focus to next weekend’s visit to D.C. United.

“I don’t like to speak about this when I lose,” Dielna said. “I’m a winner, so I don’t like to speak about it. We just lost tonight. We need to come back Monday, start the right training, work hard and look forward to the next game.”